Bible study often is treated as doing your taxes. It’s something you know you need to do, but it isn’t something you want to do. If that is your first thought, then I wish to help you. Common objections to bible study often go along these lines:
I can’t understand it.
I don’t know Greek or Hebrew.
I don’t have the time.
It’s too hard and I need someone to explain it to me.
Bible study is for pastors. Bible reading is for the rest of us.
But I am here to tell you EVERYONE, and I mean everyone, can study the bible and learn very practical insights and application for their life. You don’t need to know Greek (or Hebrew), you don’t need a ministry degree, you don’t need commentaries or even dictionaries. You can be a child with little or no real world experience or you can be in the twilight of life – it make no difference! Everyone can study the bible on their own and learn from it.
Many Christians think having daily devotions is bible study. Reading a verse and then someone’s comments or thoughts about that verse may be helpful, but it isn’t bible study. Most of your time has been reading someone else’s thoughts not really seeing what the text says.
It’s the same with various through the bible reading plans. While that sounds like a good idea (and one can make a good case for them), the temptation is to just read the text so you don’t fall behind your plan. Reading becomes a chore as opposed to it being the way God communicates to us.
So, with all those ideas in mind, let me propse to you a simple way to study the bible. All you need is a bible (any version you wish), pen and notepad. That’s all. No study notes, study guides, dictionary, lexicon or commentary. Just your bible and something to write on.
Take a story or passage of Scripture and ask yourself these some questions about the text. The first question is…
What does this passage tell me about God?
Just read a passage – maybe 10-15 verses (it can be less!) and ask yourself what this tells you about God. Think about it, how do we know about God? How do we know who He is and His character? How do you know Him? It’s through His Word! So, it is reasonable to conclude that if you read Scripture, you can find out about Him. Read a passage and ask yourself “What does this tell me about God?” then write down your conclusions from that passage. Even a short passage can yield a wealth of information about God. After you do this over a period of time, you might find you’ve developed an entirely new understanding of Him!
The next question…
What does this passage tell me about myself?
One awesome thing about Scripture is how revealing it is. I often have some incorrect thinking about myself and the bible can fix that. I may think too highly of myself – it has a way of humbling me. I might think of myself in too derogatory of a way and forget I am a child of the King! The bible has a way of correcting my thinking.
You’ll need to insert yourself into the text. What if you were there and heard this (or witnessed it) first hand? How would you feel? If you heard those words of the prophet or Jesus or Paul directly, how would you respond? Do this with every character or groups of characters in the text. Ask yourself, what is this telling me about myself? What if I was there? Write down your thoughts.
Finally, there is the last question…
From this passage, what lesson or application can I apply to my life?
This can be gleaned from your answers to the first and second questions or it can be something you see separate from them. The point here is that once you know something about God and something about yourself, you can see or apply this passage to your life – beyond than just learning the basic story. After all, if I am to live the Word and let it is to “light my path” (Psalm 119:105), it needs to be more than just a story. Write down your thoughts on how this applies to your life.
Over time, you will develop a great set of notes about who God is, who you are and how you are to be directed by God.
These are simple, yet quite profound ways to read and study the bible. You’ll find you will grow in Him and you bible knowledge will be quite a bit more than just knowing stories or the order of the Old Testament Minor Prophets. The bible will become real to you… and you didn’t need to know Greek!
So go study the bible! Blessing my friend!